Mulled Wine (& Monday)

Hello and happy Monday!

Is it too early to tell tails? …cocktails, that is?! (Oy, I’m mad at myself for that one.)

I feel like no. Because I spent most of yesterday thinking it was today and now IDK what I’m feeling like today.

Except…maybe a glass of mulled wine. That might feel nice.

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Thankful Things

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are all enjoying time with your family and friends, eating food that was made with love and filling yourself up with carbs and the comfort that comes from gratitude.

I just wanted to take a minute out of all the pie and pilgrims to say thank you. From the bottom of my heart. For all of you, any of you, who have ever read, commented, followed along, or made a recipe. For any of you who have supported me in any way. I wouldn’t be where I am, doing what I am, without you. So, thank you.

There’s one reader in particular I want to give my utmost thanks to – my husband. He is the reason you’re reading more posts, seeing more pictures. He’s the reason I’m following my dreams. He is steady and strong. I am eternally grateful for his love and encouragement. Thank you, sweet Seth.

May today kick off the happiest holiday season for you and yours. As for me and mine, I’ve already donned a Christmas sweater and mulled some cider for an evening of Elf viewing. May our gratitude flow like maple syrup over spaghetti <3

Homemade Vanilla Extract (& gifts)

I’m way behind.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I usually have Christmas presents bought and buttoned up by now. Or, at least started. I begin shopping – little by little, piece by piece – in the summertime. I’m normally working my way down a list that was made in the spring.

I’d like to think I do it this way because I’m so thoughtful and giving and generous. That my gift giving was borne within me, it’s a part of me, it cannot be denied for 12 months out of the year and so, I must shop early and shop often. How else can I uphold the claim that I am like Leslie Knope when it comes to presents?

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Sure, it’d be nice if that were the case. In all actuality, I start shopping that early because I don’t like seeing my bank account take such a wallop the last six weeks before Christmas. If I spend the money slowly over a longer period of time, it doesn’t hurt so badly.

But, this year has been a crazy one for me (Umm…October is next week? What?!). I’ve had a lot going on that hasn’t involved shopping. Which is kind of crazy. Because I love shopping! And all things Christmas related!

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Brandy Slush

Working on a Christmas gift has led me to looking at old family photo albums, mainly from my grandma’s house. It’s the craziest thing – when I look at these photos I remember the moment with all of my senses. The way the dining room chairs felt, the smell of her garage, the taste of freshly made pancakes. I remember it all so vividly.

Brandy Slush via Midwest Nice Blog

For instance, I have a very clear memory of childhood Christmases. Of walking down the stairs, into the basement, around the corner past the tv room and into the pantry. My grandma’s basement pantry was huge! Hidden behind a pink and white curtain, it housed jars and jars of canned vegetables (grown the previous summer), boxes of honey wafers for my aunt, and enough boxes of pasta to feed a small Italian army.

Brandy Slush via Midwest Nice Blog

There was also a large deep freezer on one end of the room. One of those white ones with the door that opened up like a chest, with a chasm great enough that you’d have to dive in looking for things. Free floating, balancing on your stomach, feet up in the air.

Brandy Slush via Midwest Nice Blog

Something that was always easy to find this time of year? A bucket of brandy slush. We had it at every family gathering around the holidays (or, quite possibly, any time of year). I remember my dad wanting another glass and me begging to got and get it. I remember the cool concrete floor under my socks, the scraping of the spoon shaving off bits of slush into his cup, struggling to fill the remaining space with soda. A big bottle always on the low shelf near the entrance of the pantry. Then making my way back upstairs, only after stealing a few sips.

Brandy Slush via Midwest Nice Blog

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